It’s been a downpour Household tips for the rainy season
KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and other parts of South Africa have experienced heavy rainfall and flooding in the last few weeks. This has resulted in many home and business owners finding themselves dealing with damp buildings and furnishings, and structural damage.
If you have experienced flooding at home or work, here’s what to do:
Many disaster recovery experts say the most important thing to consider before going into a building after a flood is safety. As a first port of call, if it seems as though the building suffered flooding from a significant amount of water, call both a qualified electrician and a building contractor to check your electric connections and to be sure that your office building or home is structurally safe for occupation.
Check for contamination
If flood water comes from a river, it could contain contaminated water. Bacterial content isn’t always an issue, but with the increasing reports of water contamination throughout the country, it could be a good idea to investigate the source of the flooding. Surfaces should be disinfected with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.
Beware of mould
Air treatment specialists, Solenco, advise that the property, especially homes, must be dried out as quickly as possible once a flood has subsided, as mould will start to grow within 48 to 72 hours. Healthwise, mould is potentially dangerous to the respiratory and immune system, causing breathing problems, and even triggering an asthma attack in some cases. Carpets and furniture that were submerged should be completely removed and drywall that was soaked should be cut out and discarded.
Invest in a dehumidifier
Another method that is fast and effective at removing excess moisture and the possibility of mould is to use a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are used to remove deep embedded moisture – even from wooden furniture. Like a clever vacuum cleaner, a dehumidifier breathes in air, removes all the moisture, and then breathes dry air out again. Some dehumidifiers have the added advantage of a built-in air purifier function which fights allergens and the inhalation of mould spores following flooding from a contaminated source.
Stay alert for mould or any odours, even in smaller areas of your home where there may be a minor leak, indicating the presence of mould. If you’re still in doubt, get a mould expert to test your home.